A NEW and ground-breaking project to create a 60-mile corridor of trees, hedges and woodland has been launched.

Three neighbouring wildlife trusts have come together for the new vision to connect two of England’s largest native woodlands.

Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire Wildlife Trusts have come together to lead Severn Treescapes, which will see a wooded landscape created at a scale never seen in the region before.

It should eventually be a 60-mile corridor of trees, hedgerows and native woodland that will stretch from the Lower Wye Valley and Forest of Dean in the south to the Wyre Forest in the north, connecting both people and nature.


While this landscape already includes two of the country’s larger forests, the wildlife trusts said the wider landscape has seen a continued reduction in tree coverage, now exacerbated by ash dieback disease and extreme weather events.

Farmland accounts for about 75 per cent of the land use in this area, the groups said, and so the project aims to support farmers to explore innovative ways of increasing tree cover while maintaining productivity, as well as encouraging whole communities to understand the value of trees.

Dr Juliet Hynes, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s head of ecological evidence, said: "We’re so excited to get this project up and running.

"It will provide a fantastic opportunity for local communities, landowners and farmers to build a closer relationship with trees. Trees and hedgerows can help to tackle the impacts of climate change – providing livestock with shade in the summer, fruit and nuts for birds and small mammals in the winter and increased water infiltration.

"What’s more, the well-being benefits of being in nature and around trees are well known and vital to our health and happiness.”

The trusts said the project will increase tree cover and encourage bigger, bushier hedgerows along a 60-mile corridor, creating more places for wildlife to thrive.

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It also said it will provide a team of on-the-ground advisors to support land managers, farmers and communities to access funding to plant and/or grow and manage trees and woodlands across this landscape.

The project should also engage 5,000 people by expanding the BBC Radio Gloucestershire Ourboretum tree growing initiative, encouraging local people to gather native, local tree seeds and grow saplings at home – eventually planting them back into their local area.


And they said it will also create more opportunities for people to connect with trees and the natural world, with 12 per cent of England’s population is within a 30-minute drive of the project area.

The launch of Severn Treescapes is part of the Queen’s Green Canopy, which marked the Platinum Jubilee of the late Queen Elizabeth II.